‘Facts’ and ‘Truth’ Aren’t Enough: Democratic Politics and the Constructions of Inequality
re-interpretation of, the American Dream is what constitutes “freedom.”
The invocation of economic facts by Democrats does not destabilize these Republican constructions of power and freedom. The conceptions emerge from complex interpretive mechanisms and need to be deconstructed in the same way. The Democratic unwillingness to engage these processes has resulted in a President who continuously recites a litany of facts in a series of earnest speeches and then seems mystified by his own lack of efficacy.
For all their stated disdain of academic theorizing, Republicans have actually been very postmodern in their acceptance of the malleability of “facts” and their strategic focus on the battle over interpretations. They have, in a sense, enacted the writings of postmodern theorists such as Michel Foucault who claimed that “we are subjected to the production of truth through power and we cannot exercise power except through the production of truth.”
Postmodern Republican politics has succeeded in proffering a universe in which “facts” are devoid of any ground other than the interpretations which give them meaning. Instead of deconstructing these interpretations and offering an alternate paradigm, Democratic politics clings to a conceptual insistence that the illumination of objective reality will alter existing social and economic relations. Films such as Inequality for All emerge sporadically as demonstrations of the Democratic facility with facts. These demonstrations are inevitably followed by a collective sigh of disbelief and a bewildered shrug when the facts seem to have so little effect.
Published on Wednesday, October 9, 2013 by YES! Magazine
Obama: Citizens United Helped Pave the Way to Shutdown
So unchecked campaign spending has played a role in today’s political chaos, and the Supreme Court’s ruling in McCutcheon v. FEC could make things way, way worse. Now here’s the good news.
This article was written for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas and practical actions.
But the flood of money in politics is likely to get even worse. As of now, there remains a thin veil between big money and candidates: There are limits on how much a person (or corporation) can contribute directly to a candidate’s campaign or political party.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard a case that could tear away even that thin veil:McCutcheon v. the Federal Election Commission, a case brought by Shaun McCutcheon, a Republican donor from Alabama, seeking to abolish limits on the amount of money donated to candidates.
Under Citizens United, anyone—including giant corporations—can contribute as much as they want to so-called “independent” organizations, like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS. If McCutcheon prevails, the same unlimited amounts of cash will flow directly to candidates and their political parties. It’s the last step toward shredding any form of restriction on election contributions.
But here’s the good news: By a wide margin, Americans don’t like this legalized form of political corruption, and they are taking action. Since the Citizens United decision, groups like Move to Amend, Public Citizen, and Free Speech for People have been at the forefront ofcampaigns to pass a constitutional amendment that would bring back our ability to regulate money in politics.
Constitutional amendments are hard to pass. That didn’t stop the suffragettes in their quest to get women the vote. And it needn’t stop us. Already 16 states and more than 300 towns and cities have passed resolutions calling for a constitutional amendment. Many more legislative bodies have such calls in the works.
As the outrage grows over campaign spending and the gridlock that ensues, the momentum for change also grows. Regardless of how the Supreme Court rules in McCutcheon, you can bet that in towns, cities, and states across the country we will see more calls for a constitutional amendment. Stay tuned. This fight is far from over.